53. Alves’ Daily Life
- This story took place about a year before the start of the main story. It was centered on Alves.
…There was a subtle noise.
It was almost inaudible, everyone would normally ignore it.
However, Alves didn’t. Rather than waiting for his consciousness to fully return, he reached for the dagger under his pillow before getting out of his bed. As his eyes opened, there was a stiff feeling on his fingertips.
When glanced at the window, a tiny bit of light sneaked through the gaps of the shutters. The skies were no longer dark, it was morning. Soon, the sun would appear.
Recognizing that, Alves released his hand of his dagger and sat up on the bed.
The faint sound from the corridor was slowly heading downstairs. That person knew where to not step to avoid making any loud noises. Moreover, that person was walking as quietly as possible.
Thus, he concluded the identity of the person to be his sister, Lucia. After a while, he could hear noise from around the kitchen. She seemed to have opened a window, set the fire, and added some firewood.
While lightly yawning, Alves brushed away his dark blond bangs.
She didn’t wake up late. However, she seemed to have woken up later than usual.
He was aware of the cause.
Over the past few days, she had been helping him sheer the sheep. It was an annual event, but apart from the trimming procedure, the sheep were more nervous than expected. His arms felt stiff.
Even so, it was nothing more than muscle pain. At the very least, it didn’t escalate to numbness. Therefore, his swordplay wouldn’t be affected. Nevertheless, suffice to say, pinching a small object like needle would be difficult.
Unfortunately, he had planned to sew the woolen fabric that day. He wasn’t sure that he’d be able to sew well.
“…Should I have Lucia do it?”
Alves repeatedly opened and closed his hands, before shaking his head and laughing bitterly.
Inherently, he wasn’t good at tailoring.
As such, he thought of the thick and long needles intended for the mattress as weapons. By thinking like that, he managed to finish the seams to the extent that his sister could endure laughing at them.
That day, just relying on his sister might be for the best.
After letting out a small sigh, Alves got off his bed and changed his clothes.
He was wearing his usual simple garments. They didn’t resemble aristocratic attire in the slightest. The Ragulen family wasn’t a high-ranking family, nor was it wealthy enough to buy ornate clothing.
In order to do various jobs which included field work, simple but durable clothes were better. Moreover, they were easy to wash. He’d only wear ornate clothing when required.
Because of that mindset, Alves didn’t particularly care about his simple outfit.
However, in term of appearance, Alves didn’t cut corners.
He washed his face, combed his messy hair, and checked his own reflection in front of an old but large mirror.
After straightening his collar and making sure that all the buttons, including those at the cuffs of his shirt, were fitted, Alves picked up his sword and opened the door to his room.
When he stepped into the hallway, he could hear a small noise.
It came from the kitchen.
His sister’s—Lucia’s—morning preparations seemed to be proceeding smoothly.
He thought of going straight to the kitchen. However, that morning, Lucia was unusually humming. Now that she was singing comfortably, he’d feel bad interrupting her. While killing his presence, Alves decided to go outside.
He drew water form a well and filled a large metal jug. He then carried the heavy bucket to the kitchen. While watching the kiln, Lucia was shaping the dough.
There was a happiness in her subtle humming. Secretly, Alves felt relieved.
“Good morning, Lucia.”
“O, oh, good morning, brother! Thank you for fetching the water!”
When he called out, Lucia turned around. Seeing the water that her brother had brought, she immediately and gladly thanked him. In the meantime, her hands didn’t stop moving. The bread hadn’t been baked, yet. It was going to take a while.
After taking a quick glance at the kitchen, Alves transferred the water to the kiln.
“I’m going to fetch more water for the kitchen, but there’s still more to come, right?”
“Yes, thank you. Let’s have a meal when it’s over.”
Alves nodded and left the kitchen with the empty bucket. Looking back from the hallway, he saw Lucia was putting the dough inside the kiln.
Previously, she had bought some smoked meat from the store. After cutting it into thin slices, it was then baked with the fire. Afterwards, the meat slices were served on the table alongside the baked bread to complete the breakfast.
Alves increased his pace and returned to the well. Of course, he had no actual reason to hurry.
In the past, the Ragulen family used to own a vast mansion in the immediate vicinity. During winter, they’d often move to a smaller house. At that time, they lived a more glamorous life and had many of servants.
The dining room used by the lord of that time was rarely used as of the present. It was only used for the gathering of the lords.
Alves and Lucia used the room right next to the kitchen as a place to eat.
That same room used to be a waiting room for servants. However, since Alves’ father became the viscount, it had become the main room.
Deciding the purpose of the room was simple. Nevertheless, even after two tables had been lined up, there were still plenty of space left.
For everyday meals, they usually used an old and small table. It was quite sturdy.
During the daytime and evenings, he’d sit with Yurana and the other lords. For the quick meals of the morning, only the siblings entered.
The meals were almost always the same.
Freshly-baked bread that wouldn’t last long; sliced, smoked, meat or cheese; and some hot tea. Sometimes, they’d eat some sweet baked goods.
When Alves had just succeeded the title of the viscount, they used to eat the bread and meals that Yurana had prepared the day before. Sometimes, Alves would also join in the preparation.
Lucia was helping around with various things, now. Recently, freshly-baked bread had become a staple for their breakfast.
Lucia was a hard worker.
She got up early every day and would prepare their meals. Alves was grateful for that.
But sometimes, he felt sorry.
Alves was the knight of the royal army. As such, he didn’t have to worry about getting up early, cooking, or cleaning. His present life could be considered a blessing, given that his tasks usually required him to camp in the wastelands.
While his assignments were harsh, back when he was still a knight, he was but a youth. As such, he was lively and had a good time.
However, Lucia had no such experience.
Even though she couldn’t hope for a noble luxury, it wasn’t part of her duty to cook. However, upon getting the hang of it, Lucia tried to do everything by herself. It was probably because she was already accustomed to their modest way of living.
Alves would much prefer for her to not get tanned by harvesting vegetables in the fields either. He couldn’t afford to give her a luxurious life, but he intended to let her have a reasonably rich life.
He wanted her to dress up according to her age. He wanted her to live like a noble lady; to watch some plays, to go shopping, or to attend a spectacular royal ball in the royal capital.
Yet because of their debt, those wishes couldn’t come true.
Lucia was willing to do any work.
Because she liked to move her body, she went to the field with a cheerful smile and cooked while humming. With a bucket and scrubbing brush in her hands, she was excited about cleaning the floor.
There was no doubt that she enjoyed her daily chores.
On the other hand, she had lost many things. Aristocratic women had beautiful hands because they didn’t do that kind of work.
Lucia’s hands were rough. There was a mark that had become slightly noticeable. She must had burned the back of her hand while practicing her baking. In proportion to her cooking and cleaning, the coarser Lucia’s hands were during the winter.
However, Lucia didn’t care.
She laughed and was proud of it. To her, it was a proof of independence. It was proof that she was able to stand on her own without depending on others. She didn’t like being pitied—she’d rather stand and walk with her own two feet.
No can do…
The blood of the Ragulen family flowed in Lucia. She was more independent than Alves.
Therefore, instead of being merciful, he should be proud of his sister.
Every time he felt guilty, Alves would always remind himself. Thanks to Lucia, managing the territory had become easier.
However, a certain friend of Alves disagreed.
Upon seeing Lucia’s rugged hands, without saying anything, that particular friend rode a horse to the royal capital.
A week later, he returned with an ointment in a simple container. While smiling, he pressed it to Lucia, “An acquaintance gave it to me.”
That friend had a good grasp of Lucia’s personality.
He knew that if he admitted that he bought the ointment, Lucia would never accept it. If Lucia’s birthday hadn’t already passed, he might had given it to her as a present. However, that man wouldn’t let medicine be her birthday present.
***T/N: I’m surprised his daily live doesn’t include beating Phil and aiding his subsequent escape from the army.
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